E2.0 Eval

June 16, 2010

Sure, it’s only Wednesday, but today I’m going to take a minute and give you my thoughts on what’s been good, bad and random at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston this week. *The conference goes on for another day, so my reflections are certainly not complete.

In fact, I’m currently listening to some guy from Microsoft give a keynote about sharing information across businesses. Allow me to ignore the session and think about the great stuff around the show.

Best things I’ve seen are the give-aways on the show floor. While the exhibit floor is a bit small, almost every vendor is giving away an iPad. The funny thing is that in an environment so dominated by IBM, Microsoft and other PC-centric companies, the big draw is an Apple product.

I’ve also been impressed that companies are starting to embrace the theory that they should listen to their employees and provide them with the tools they need to collaborate within the walls of the organization. Exhibiting at E2.0 are no fewer than five companies that offer tools that allow employees to either share opinions about company policies or to share, brainstorm, collaborate and be more productive at work.

The HUGE surprise for me was that Brookstone Corp of Merrimack, NH has signed on to use a system like the ones listed above. Why’s this a surprise? I’ve worked with Brookstone and they have ALWAYS been my example of a legacy-thinking firm. The one firm of the hundreds I’ve worked with that would NEVER EVER wake up to the power of open communication.

Image courtesy of http://samsonblinded.org/blog/head-in-the-sand.htm

But I guess everyone can learn and I’m thrilled that the company is embracing technology that I think will make them more effective and productive. Kudos guys!

The bad things about the conference aren’t too numerous. I guess the biggest thing is the layout of the venue. I don’t like to walk. So why would you set a conference up where the sessions and the exhibit hall are at complete opposite ends of the hotel? My fix would be to allow folks to walk outside to get to the exhibit hall instead of going upstairs, across the entire hotel and downstairs just to get from one to the other.

Oddly, the door to the street from the session area is RIGHT NEXT TO the doors at the back of the expo area. Walk a mile or walk 100 feet? You tell me which would make my feet happier.

And the only other thing I found lacking was a true variety of topics and vendors. Sure, there are a lot more sessions to go, but from what I’ve seen so far, a lot of people are parroting each other. Cloud this, silo that, collaborate here, share there, and lots of talk about silos and internal communities. What I think is really missing (ironically the topic during the current keynote) is content curation and creation.

If you’re going to have a message, you should definitely know how to share it. Especially with internal audiences across the enterprise.

What’s the takeaway? The conference is, like so many events in the tech space, invaluable as a networking event. The sessions are for the most part informative and inspiring (good speaker selection from what I’ve seen so far). And the exhibit floor could stand to be more diverse, bigger and be better located.

Image from http://www.deletetheweb.com/unstuck/archives/2009_01.html

Are you missing something by not being here? Definitely. But follow me on Twitter and bookmark this blog for more info on the show. Hope to see you at the next tech event.

What’s the best conference you’ve attended this or last year? And why?